It is hard to say something about Charles Dickens (1812-1870) that has not been said before. There are scores of academic books about him. He was the most famous writer from the British Victorian age. He represented British culture. He created some very famous characters and told stories that are still beloved today. He wrote a variety of different types of novels, leaving behind an oeuvre that is vast, wonderful, charming, and humanitarian. He championed the poor and the underclass, giving them references for their struggle to improve their lot.
Charles Dickens, An Introduction by Roehampton University Professor Jenny Hartley is a wonderful telling of his life and accomplishments. It is voraciously researched and very accessible. As told, Dickens had a difficult early life, with his family going to debtors’ prison in England while he was sent off to work early in the factories. That shame and poverty enabled him to write about the struggles of working class and poor people, with some of his most memorable characters being children in difficult straits. He wound up in journalism and then a writer. He serialized his stories in magazines, some of which he owned, and published giant books. Hartley relays a fascinating and insightful biographical tale about an author who inspired the creation of communities of fans.
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